Monthly Archives: April 2010

Barcelona… and more travel

Hey all. Back in Maine, Batesies have finished final exams + papers and are now enjoying a week-long spring break before short term begins. Here in Spain, I still have a few more weeks of classes before the final exam period. My time abroad forces me to miss the awesomeness that is short term but given the consistently warm weather, traveling opportunities and overall great experience I’ve been having in Sevilla for the past 3 months, I can hardly say I’m suffering.

While study abroad has provided me with an array of rewarding academic, cultural, and social experiences, I think the most exciting opportunity it has afforded me is the ability to travel. This is likely the only time in my life where I will be able to “see the world” this freely and extensively and I have been doing my best to take full advantage. Last weekend I traveled to Barcelona (see pictures below) and this upcoming weekend I am heading to Morocco with my girlfriend. We’ve been talking about this possible trip for months and now it is just a few days away.

I will do my best to post some photos when I get back. In the meantime, check out these pictures I snapped in Barcelona. For more pictures from Barcelona check back soon. Also, I added some more pictures from my trip to Salamanca, which you can find here. Until next time. Hasta Luego!

(Olympic Park just before Sunset)

(Inside the cloisters of the Cathedral)

(View of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea from Gaudi’s Park Güell)

(La Sagrada Família; Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece)


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mmm… food

Hey all. I hope you enjoyed the blog about Semana Santa. I will be uploading more photos and videos from the week in the very near future so be sure to check back soon.

In the meantime, I am posting some food pictures. I know my mom stalks this blog daily and will be particularly excited to see what her son has been eating. Unfortunately, there is no way to provide you with a complete picture of all the delicious food I’ve gotten to try, but I hope these photos give you a little taste of my Spanish food experience (pun completely intended):

From my señora’s kitchen: Lentils, beans, and potatoes

Paella from a restaurant in Sevilla

Strawberry/Grapefruit ice cream from a ice cream shop near my home: best ice cream I have ever had!

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Semana Santa in Sevilla

Hey all. This past week was Semana Santa (Saints/Holy Week), one of the most important times of the year for Catholic Spaniards. Semana Santa takes place the week before Easter and is celebrated with various religious processions organized by ancient catholic brotherhoods (hermandades). There is no way to even remotely compare it to anything in the U.S. Many consider Sevilla’s Semana Santa celebrations to be the most extensive and impressive in all of Spain. There are more than 50 processions throughout the week. Some last as long as 14 hours. The Thursday night leading into Good Friday is the highlight of Semana Santa. There are processions throughout the night and thousands of people pack the streets from dusk until mid morning just to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing proceedings.

Check out the pictures and descriptions below to get a better understanding of what Semana Santa in Sevilla is all about:

Each procession includes hundreds of costumed individuals dressed in body-length robes and cone hats. The outfits are eerily similar to KKK regalia, but have absolutely no connection to the U.S. group. These individuals walk in silence carrying candles or crosses.

The highlight of each procession is the float (paso). These intricately designed pasos are giant structures depicting either Jesus on the cross or the Virgin Mary. Each church/brotherhood that takes part in the procession has its own float…some of them are hundreds of years old. The pasos are carried by more than a dozen people who are unseen under the float.

A paso of the Virgin Mary (Maria)

Below you’ll find two short videos that I took with my camera during the Semana Santa processions. Hopefully they give you a better idea of what the celebrations are like. Enjoy! Until next time…

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Salamanca

Hey all. I am back from my trip to Salamanca. It was nice to get out of Sevilla for a few days and shake up my routine a bit. My trip began last Friday morning when I traveled to Córdoba to see my girlfriend. After a wonderful day with her, I boarded a 1:00 AM bus for Madrid. I arrived in Spain’s capital at 5:30 AM, waited a few hours, and then caught a bus to Salamanca where I arrived at 11:00 AM.  Note to potential future study abroad students: traveling in Europe can be done somewhat inexpensively if you are willing to take overnight buses. Once in Salamanca, I met up with a friend and we spent the weekend exploring the city, playing basketball with some local residents, and relaxing in the warm weather.

Salamanca is truly a beautiful city (see pictures below) with a lot to see: The University of Salamanca (oldest university in Spain: 1218), the Plaza Mayor (arguably Spain’s most beautiful plaza), a Romanesque cathedral dating back to the 12th century, and the Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells… 15th century building known for its non-religious architecture).

Salamanca and Sevilla, though a part of the same country, are very different. Salamanca is in western Spain in the autonomous region of Castila and León. Sevilla is in southern Spain in the Andalusian region. The accent, architecture, culture, and weather are all different. This shouldn’t surprise me since the same distinctions exist within the United States (think Maine vs. New Mexico), but I couldn’t help being a little bit taken aback. My friend’s host mom even pointed out my Andalusian-Spanish accent!

Anyway, pictures from Semana Santa will be up soon. Until then, enjoy these pictures from Salamanca. Until next time… Hasta luego:

(View of city from atop the cathedral)

(University of Salamanca)

(Roman bridge with view of the cathedral)

(Plaza Mayor at night)

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